It’s a Wonderful Life movie paired with a home cooked meal

Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed & Lionel Barrymore

Rating 9/10

Plot:
– It all begins on Christmas Eve in Bedford Falls, New York where this small town starts sending up prayers for their beloved George Bailey (Stewart). He’s in BIG trouble and suicidal so angel-without-wings Clarence (Henry Travers) is given the job to rescue George, starting with a review of his life.
– When he was 12, George rescued his little brother, Harry from drowning and his boss, Mr Gower from accidentally poisoning a kid. George dreams big and when he’s 21 or he plans a trip overseas. After Harry’s high school graduation party, he chats to nice girl Mary (Reed) about his dreams for a BIG life but then gets devastating news about the passing of his dad.
– Evil businessman Henry Potter (Barrymore) tries to shut down George’s dad’s business, Building and Loan Association that often approved loans to the poorest of the poor. So George decides to stay and continue his dad’s great work until little bro Harry graduates. But then Harry gets married and works with his new father-in-law instead.
– George is stuck once more at the Building and Loan and eventually marries beautiful Mary, they move into a large but decrepit house that they do up. The Great Depression hits and George bails out the townspeople, keeping them and his business afloat…just.
– WWII strikes and Harry gets the Medal of Honour. Four kids later, Mary and George are actually doing ok. They’ve built affordable housing for poor townsfolk and happy as Larry… whoever he is.
– But when Uncle Billy loses $8000, George loses his mind. He even begs Potter for help who refuses and enjoys every minute of George’s humiliation.
– Things go from bad to worse as George comes home in a terrible mood, scares the kids and his beloved wife and runs out the door. He realises he’s worth more $$ dead than alive, so he goes to jump off a bridge. Instead, his guardian angel, Clarence jumps in the swirling water and good guy, George, jumps in to save him.
– George shares his devastating story with Clarence and wishes he was never born. So the wing-less angel gives him what he asks for… a vision of life without him.
– This completely changes his perspective on life and George rushes home to a wonderful reception. Sigh.

Entree:

Let’s make a typical small town homey kinda meal to comfort our weary souls along with poor old George’s. Imagine what it would have been like to grow up in Bedford Falls. What would you be eating? Probably this! It’s a hot, delicious bowl or two of Roasted Tomato Soup from Kitchen Runway.

Review:

Like many of these black and white beauties, make yourself comfy because it’s kinda long at 130 minutes. Having said that, you will love every minute of it. It’s such a rich story well told and beautifully acted. James Stewart is incredible as the emotional George, no overacting here.

Drew’s grandpapa, Lionel Barrymore does a great job playing the horrible Potter. He’s the kinda character you love to hate. I just love the townsfolk. There’s a few of them, so it’s a bit tricky to keep track of them all but I’m a sucker great communities. It’s beautiful when people come together in times of crises, they reflect the true spirit of Christmas – that it’s better to give than receive, self-sacrifice, generosity and justice.

Some of my favourite scenes are: the pool scene where nearly everyone jumps in at Harry’s graduation ball/party; the telephone scene with Mary, Sam and George and the final scene. Sigh.

Clarence is a funny little old man angel. Kinda cute and loveable, although a little ditzy but you’ve gotta love the little fella. He really helped out our George and that’s the main thing. The whole film is brilliantly crafted with a strong message about perspective – what really matters in life; money or relationships. And Clarence’s note says it all… “Dear George, Remember no man is a failure who has friends…” Sounds sappy but in the context of this powerful movie, it’s so right!

You must watch this movie at least once. It’s not just a classic but almost a perfect movie full of heart, warmth and truth. A lovely Christmassy movie you can watch any time throughout the year! Check it out!

Main meal:

Lovely Mary cooks up a storm for her home honeymoon with battler, George. She makes a homey meal with chicken on a spit! Here’s a recipe to make and eat while you watch this sweet movie. It’s Herbes de Provence Rotisserie Chicken from Bon Appetit.

Serve these delicious little chickens with some hearty veggies to get you through tough times. Here’s a great recipe from Taste.com.au – Baked Vegetables Al Forno.

It’s a Wonderful Life trivia:

  • Budget -$3.18 million
  • The pool scene was filmed at Beverly Hills High School in L.A. It was in the gym and the floor really opened up to reveal a pool. Crazy cool!
  • One of Director/Producer Frank Capra’s favourite films.
  • The inspiration for this movie was a short story.
  • Reed ‘s aim was so good she threw the rock that hit the window in the old house herself.
  • Stewart actually broke down and sobbed in one of the final scenes – the bar when George is contemplating suicide.
  • Stewart was still recovering from fighting in WWI and it was Lionel Barrymore who convinced him to take on this part. This was the first movie he’d made for five years. Very emotional time.
  • This was Donna Reed’s first starring role.
  • The movie was shot in a heatwave which is why Stewart is sweating so much.
  • It took two months to make the set which covered four acres that included 75 stores, buildings, factories and slum area.
  • The wage Potter was offering to George ($20,000), today would be worth over $300,000 per year! Jeepers.
  • Wondering why there was a raven in the Building and Loan office? Me too. It was director Frank Capra’s trademark. He used this bird in every film he made.

Dessert:

Snow features heavily in this classic film, so let’s recreate a bit of snowy Christmassy magic with this adorable Gingerbread house from Taste.com.au. How cute and snowy!

Have you seen this amazing movie?

More great film and food pairs:

* Top 10 films featuring death matched with dark recipes
* How the Grinch Stole Christmas film paired with Whobilation food
* Top 10 Christmas kids’ films matched with festive flavours

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